The forms and functions of peer social support for people living with HIV

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2012 Jul-Aug;23(4):294-305. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2011.08.014. Epub 2011 Nov 13.


Peers may be important sources of coping assistance, but their impact can be better understood if we examine their influence across various contexts. Although social support studies focused on people living with HIV have examined peer support in various contexts, they do not comprehensively account for situations in which peer support might be provided. The specific aims of this study were to (a) describe the various forms and functions of peer support for people living with HIV and (b) validate the Dennis (2003) concept analysis of peer support within health contexts. Results indicate that peer support is a potentially important adjunct to clinical care for enhancing coping skills, thereby improving the psychosocial functioning of people living with HIV. It is important to (a) assess patient access to peer support, (b) provide opportunities for peer support in the clinical setting, and (c) enhance disclosure and support-seeking skills to facilitate this benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Support*